The National Bank of Greece (NBG) is a global banking and financial services company with its headquarters in Athens. The bank currently has over 500 branches throughout Greece.\nOne of the bank\u2019s key objectives is to establish customer-centric digital banking through technological transformation. To meet this goal, the bank had to reinvent its network infrastructure with the newest available solutions. The bank needed to focus especially in the field of network switches.\nChallenge\nBusiness challenge: Ten-year old network replacement\nNBG needed to meet its fast business growth. To do so it must change both the network architecture and devices for more than 200 branches (Phase 1 of the project \u2014\u00a0a total of more than 500 in Phase 2) and 32 buildings (Phase 1) throughout Greece. Many of the legacy switches were more than ten years old and had been out of support for years. There was an emerging need to replace aged equipment as soon as possible.\n\u201cIt was a very big project and a huge challenge all in one, because of how the systems were spread. We were looking for a secure and reliable solution which could provide us with high speed, great quality, and as less disruption as possible during installation and as light maintenance as possible. That last one was our main requirement and top priority \u2014 we wanted to invest in the equipment that you can simply buy, install and forget,\u201d said Antonis Chatziparaskevas, Deputy Director, Division of Group Operations and Infrastructure at National Bank of Greece.\nFinancial services have high requirements for reliability. If a network failure occurs, the impact will be huge. NBG wanted switches to be as smooth as possible. They also expected the new network to be compatible with the existing authentication system and IP Telephony of the Bank.\nNBG was experiencing an explosive growth of business data.\u00a0This was due to an expanded business scale and scope as well as the rise of mobile payment and other new businesses.\u00a0The growth was straining the original network bandwidth and scalability. It was unfeasible to enhance the network capacity by simply increasing the number of devices. Thus, a new network that was easy to expand had become an urgent demand.\nNBG also had considered changing technologies. Due to this, the IT team were required to learn new products and methods for solving potential issues. Easy configuration of new equipment as well as instant support from Huawei was a critical feature. It was as important as the actual price and total operation and maintenance costs.\nNBG started to look for a vendor that could meet their expectations. Several of the companies invited included the manufacturers of the switches used prior and Huawei. Huawei\u2019s solutions passed all the tests and suited the project in its entirety. These solutions gained the highest mark among the rankings of the top five vendors invited to the tender.\nSolution\nTransformation: Easy migration in 500 locations\nNBG used an ICT solution of network access control provided by the producer of the previous switches. This system prevents anyone from plugging an unauthorized device to the network. At first, there were some concerns about whether Huawei\u2019s switches would cooperate adequately with the system. Huawei was to prove its unmatched interoperability with the legacy network access control system.\nHuawei\u2019s solution was to replace the aged devices from previous network vendors with\u00a0the latest intelligent routing switches \u2014\u00a0S7700 and S5720. Huawei designated a professional test team to ensure the interoperability of Huawei products with the legacy authentication systems and existing IP Telephony. This guaranteed smooth network switching. These efforts protected customer investments, avoided network service interruptions, and helped NBG accelerate business development and improve service experience.\nThe S7700 implements the innovative Cluster Switch System (CSS) function through switch fabrics. This addressed the problem of low switching efficiency caused by multiple switching processes during inter-chassis forwarding. The links between chassis in a cluster can be bundled to improve link utilization and eliminate single-point failures.\nDespite the huge scale of the implementation process, only one technical problem occurred. NBG raised it to Huawei technical experts and it was solved immediately.\n\u201cWe received an exceptional support from Huawei. They were fast, straight to the point and dedicated to solving the issue. After that, our impression of Huawei is very positive,\u201d stated Antonis Chatziparaskevas.\nIn general, the entire project went smoothly, without any additional technical difficulties. The devices have been operating for more than four months. Since the implementation, NBG has not experienced problems with their new network.\n\u201cUsually, we are very demanding when it comes to IT purchases, especially where big scale implementations are involved. This time, I actually have no complaints. I would love to have more projects like this one,\u201d admitted Antonis Chatziparaskevas.\nBenefits\nA 100 times faster network for the next decade\nThe project achieved its main goal, as the new devices need very limited involvement of the IT staff.\n\u201cOur network is 100 times faster and, what\u2019s even more important, it is now almost maintenance-free. In the past we had many problems with switches that were going down because they were simply old. We had two or three such cases per month and now we have none. A lot of time is being saved, and that can be used for other tasks. The savings are obvious,\u201d said Antonis Chatziparaskevas.\nMigration from the old switches to Huawei\u2019s devices brought a 100 times increase in the nominal network bandwidth. The bandwidth increased from 100 Mbit\/s to 10 Gbit\/s (and is ready for an upgrade to 100 Gbit\/s). This is important for departments\u2019 daily work that demands high transfer speed, such as marketing or IT teams. Installed aggregation switches allow the opportunity to expand in the future. The switches are scalable with 20 percent to 30 percent port expandability.\n\u201cNew switches will be able to serve the bank for the next 10 years. This is also why we chose them,\u201d stressed Antonis Chatziparaskevas.\nAbout the National Bank of Greece\nEstablished in 1841, NBG was the first bank to be set up in the Modern Greek State. It played a key role in Greece\u2019s\u00a0economy throughout its 176-year history. Today NBG heads one of the largest financial groups in Greece. It plays a crucial role in efforts to support the Greek economy and the economic and social transformation of the country. NBG offers a wide range of financial products and services to meet the ever-evolving needs of private and business customers.\nThe Bank considers itself to be the preferred bank of families in Greece, as it controls one-fourth of the retail banking market. Its leading position in savings deposits reflects the trust of its customers who in essence comprise NBG\u2019s driving force. With an extensive branch and ATM network comprised of over 538 branches and 1,471 ATMs, NBG covers the entire geographical area of Greece. It also developed state-of-the-art e-Channels that include Mobile and Internet Banking. Today, NBG\u2019s international network includes 65 units, while the Group employs some 11,074 employees (as of September 2018).